My favorite quote has always been Philippians 4:13.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
I’ve said it to myself as I’ve ran races, went to job interviews, walked through hard times, raised babies…
With this quote, I’ve achieved many things but I’ve also spent my life chasing many things, never happy with the moment I am in. I found myself always looking for the next moment. This achieving mindset is good to have, but I pushed it to an extreme.
Going, going, going.
Chasing, chasing, chasing.
Spending, spending, spending.
In my spirit, it led me to be extremely discontented.
So a few years ago, with a marriage on life support and stress that made us buckle, we decided to stop chasing, live within our means, and be content and grateful. We took some radical steps. But that’s another blog post.
I read books on contentment, simplifying, teaching your children gratitude.
When my pastor said he was preaching a sermon on contentment Sunday, I was super excited. He started off reading Philipians 4:13, my verse. Then he backtracked and read the verses that were before it, Philipians 4:11-12. Paul wrote:
“I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
That’s when it hit me, with a little help from Pastor Bruce. Maybe Paul knew we’d need God to give us strength to be content. That’s why he put Philippians 4:13 after 11-12.
That the contentment we are always chasing can only come from God. He knew we’d need God’s strength to achieve full contentment. Everything I’d been looking for in books had been right there before my favorite verse the entire time. He knew I’d need help with contentment when we had couches that’s slipcovers needed slip covering.
He knew I’d need help with contentment living in a 100 year old house that always has a project underway. He knew I’d need help with contentment driving a van that squeaks the first few minutes until it warms up a little. He knew I’d need help with contentment at 5:00 in the evening when dinner is burning, kids are fighting, a baby is hanging on my legs, and the dog is barking wanting to be let outside.
After that sermon, I looked at my favorite verse with a new perspective. I prayed for God to give me contentment, the kind only He could give.
When we got home from church my hubby and I talked about what we were grateful for and how much God had blessed our little family. We looked around at this 100 year old house and saw all that we were able to do with God’s help and how far it’s come.
We watched our four healthy children playing, laughing, goofing off.
When we went to bed that night and I looked over and asked him, “Did you have a good day.”
“I did,” he said. “I’m very content.”
“I am too,” I told him.
And I was.
Elizabeth Doan is married to her hubby David for 14 years. Mother to four wonderful kiddos: Sam (10), Sarah (8), Evie Joy (4), and Sadie Rose (6 months). Homeschooling Momma for 4 years with 17 years to go! Elizabeth’s favorite quote in the whole wide world is: “Life is frittered away by details. Simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau